Policy Analysis

Policy Brief – Does Preschool Education Policy Impact Infant/Toddler Care?


Public support for the education and care of 3- and 4-year-olds has increased, but has this helped or hurt the provision of care for infants (children up to 12 months old) and toddlers (1- and 2-year-olds)? This policy brief examines trends in supply and demand in the infant/toddler care market, reviews state and federal policies for infant/toddler care, and recommends policy changes that could ensure new preschool policies benefit infant/toddler care and avoid unintended negative consequences.

By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 20, March 2009) Summary Public support for the education and care of 3- and 4-year-olds has increased, but has this helped or hurt the provision of care for infants (children up to 12

Policy Brief – Federal Early Childhood Policy Guide For The First 100 Days


At the request of President-elect Obama’s transition team, this NIEER policy brief provides guidance on federal investments in preschool and child care for the sake of America’s children.

by Steve Barnett and Ellen Frede, NIEER Co-directors NIEER Policy Brief (1/8/09) Summary At the request of the president-elect’s transition team, NIEER Co-directors W. Steven Barnett and Ellen Frede developed federal policy proposals, including suggest

Policy Brief – Connecting Neurons, Concepts, and People: Brain Development and its Implications


This policy brief summarizes what is known about early brain development and corrects some of the common misunderstandings of the research.

By Ross A. Thompson NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 17, December 2008) Summary Over the last decade, news reports, policy statements, and commercial marketing have all contributed to the public’s understanding of early brain growth. While the most significan

Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications


Amid debate over the benefit of preschool programs, this new brief examines what researchers currently know about the potential of those programs to bring about positive change.

Policy Brief – Challenging Behaviors and the Role of Preschool Education


This policy brief from NIEER examines the role of preschool education in regard to problem behaviors in young children.

By Lisa A. McCabe and Ellen C. Frede NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 16, December 2007) Summary Is there a rise in challenging behaviors among young children in early care and education? Is preschool a contributing factor or can it provide positive experienc

Policy Brief – Who Goes to Preschool and Why Does it Matter? (Updated)


What are the factors that influence preschool enrollment? See who goes to preschool by age, ethnicity, income, maternal employment and education and region in this policy brief.

By W. Steven Barnett and Donald J. Yarosz NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 15, November 2007) Summary Preschool participation in the U.S. has been increasing steadily over the last four decades. By 2005, more than two-thirds of the nation’s 4-year-olds were e

The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES)


This report presents the results of a longitudinal study of New Jersey's public preschool program, which found that children attending the program improve in language, literacy and math skills through the end of their kindergarten year.

The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES) by Ellen Frede, Kwanghee Jung, W. Steven Barnett, Cynthia Esposito Lamy, and Alexandra Figueras (June 2007) This report discusses the results of a rigorous study of New Jersey’s Abbott Pr

Building Early Childhood Facilities: What States Can Do to Create Supply and Promote Quality


This report explores common facility issues and outlines strategies for policymakers to address early care and education facility needs.

By Carl Sussman with Amy Gillman April 2007 Summary Much of the growth in early care and education can be attributed to research that shows the educational, social, and economic benefits of high-quality preschool education. As states’ efforts to provid

Policy Brief – Is Public Pre-K Preparing Hispanic Children to Succeed in School?


Hispanic children who attend high-quality preschool programs have been found to benefit as much as children from other backgrounds, and sometimes more.

By Luis M. Laosa and Pat Ainsworth NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 13, March 2007) Summary While public preschool programs are expanding across the country, there is a lag in participation by the nation’s fastest growing and yet most educationally challenged

Policy Brief – Building Early Childhood Facilities: What States Can Do to Create Supply and Promote Quality


This brief explores common facility issues and outlines strategies for policymakers to address early care and education facility needs.

By Carl Sussman and Amy Gillman NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 14, April 2007) Summary Much of the growth in early care and education can be attributed to research that shows the educational, social, and economic benefits of high-quality preschool education

Policy Brief – Preschool Curriculum Decision-Making: Dimensions to Consider


This report provides a framework for decision-makers to use in evaluating which curriculum might be most appropriate for their specific preschool education program.

By Ellen Frede and Debra J. Ackerman NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 12, March 2007) Summary The educational effectiveness of preschool relies on a program’s curriculum, or the content of what children learn in preschool and how it is taught. Given the multi

Policy Report – Early Childhood Development and Social Mobility


This policy report examines the effects of preschool education on social mobility in the United States.

By W. Steven Barnett and Clive R. Belfield NIEER Policy Report (October 2006) Summary This policy report examines the effects of preschool education on social mobility in the United States, noting that many current programs fail to enroll even half of

A Review of the Reason Foundation’s Report on Preschool and Kindergarten


An analysis by NIEER of the Reason Foundation's report Assessing proposals for preschool and kindergarten: Essential information for parents, taxpayers and policymaker.

A Review of the Reason Foundation’s Report on Preschool and Kindergarten By W. Steven Barnett 2006 Summary NIEER Director Steve Barnett’s analysis finds that the Reason Foundation (RF) report is an unreliable source of information about preschool educa

Policy Brief – Increasing the Effectiveness of Preschool Programs


This policy brief reviews research on the inputs contributing to quality and the features of preschool programs that impact children's learning and development.

By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 11, July 2006) Summary Although positive gains have been produced by high-quality preschool programs, the quality of programs currently available is far from uniform, with the vast ma

Policy Brief – Early Literacy: Policy and Practice in the Preschool Years


Early literacy plays a key role in enabling the kind of early learning experiences that research shows are linked with academic achievement, reduced grade retention, higher graduation rates and enhanced productivity in adult life. This policy brief synthesizes the body of professional knowledge about early literacy and offers research-based recommendations.

By Dorothy S. Strickland and Shannon Riley-Ayers NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 10, April 2006) Summary As early childhood education moves front and center in the public policy debate, more attention is being paid to early literacy. Early literacy plays a k

Policy Report – The Benefits of Prekindergarten for Middle Income Children


This policy report analyzes what the research says about access to and gains made in high-quality preschool programs by children from middle-income families. Recommendations include expanding publicly funded preschool programs to include middle-income children and strengthening standards for child care and early education programs.

The Benefits of Prekindergarten for Middle Income Children By Karen Schulman and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) View the full policy report Summary Many children from middle-income families enter kindergarten behind their peers, oft

Policy Report – Promoting Children’s Social and Emotional Development Through Preschool Education


This policy brief describes the importance of social and emotional development of children, reviews the evidence that high-quality preschool can promote social and emotional development, and describes characteristics of programs most likely to benefit children.

By Judi Boyd, W. Steven Barnett, Elena Bodrova, Deborah J. Leong, and Deanna Gomby NIEER Policy Brief (March 2005) Summary This policy brief describes the importance of social and emotional development of children, reviews the evidence that high-qualit

Policy Report – Prepared for Kindergarten: What Does “Readiness” Mean?


This policy report examines key issues for public policy related to school readiness, the relationship between school readiness and other factors in young children’s lives, and challenges in readying children for kindergarten.

By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) Summary What does school readiness mean? From age-eligibility requirements to readiness testing and from academics to social skills, it often depends on whom you ask. Studies h

Policy Report – Overlooked Benefits of Prekindergarten


Studies suggest that prekindergarten can strengthen a child’s commitment and attitude toward school, enhance the parenting skills of children’s parents, and have positive impacts on family relationships. This policy report summarizes research findings about these wider benefits of early education.

By Karen Schulman NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) View the full policy report Summary Studies have shown that high-quality prekindergarten can better prepare children for school, increase their chances of academic success, and even enable them to avoi

Policy Report – Making the Most of Kindergarten


This policy report examines academic and social outcomes of half-day versus full-day kindergarten and trends in provision of full-day programs. Recommendations include balancing anticipated gains from expanding kindergarten schedules against cost considerations and developing classroom and teacher support strategies when moving to full-day.

Making the Most of Kindergarten: Present Trends and Future Issues in the Provision of Full-day Programs By Debra J. Ackerman, W. Steven Barnett, and Kenneth B. Robin NIEER Policy Report (March 2005) Summary Policymakers considering the shift to full-da